Best Novels

(since 1850 and only one per writer)

selected by piero scaruffi


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(The lists by language are more reliable ==>)
(Yes, some day i will merge them all together and update this page
and here is the merge for novels of the 20th century)
  1. Kafka, Franz: The Trial (1915)
  2. Stendhal: The Red and the Black (1830)
  3. Fyodor Dostoevsky (Russia, 1821): "Bratia Karamazovy/ Brothers Karamazov" (1880)
  4. Mann, Thomas: Buddenbrooks (1901)
  5. James, Henry: The Golden Bowl
  6. Joyce, James: Ulysses
  7. Francois Rabelais (France, 1494): "Gargantua et Pantagruel" (1552)
  8. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Spain, 1547): "El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha" (1615)
  9. Bulgakov, Mikhail: The Master and Margherita (1940)
  10. Witkiewicz, Stanislaw: Insatiability
  11. Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights
  12. Nabokov, Vladimir: Ada
  13. Pynchon, Thomas: Gravity's Rainbow (1973)
  14. Gogol, Nikolaj: Dead Souls (1852)
  15. Faulkner, William: Light in August
  16. Dostoevskij, Fyodor: The Idiot (1869)
  17. Musil: The Man Without Qualities(1933)
  18. Woolf, Virginia: To the Lighthouse
  19. Conrad, Joseph: Nostromo
  20. Tolstoy, Lev: War and Peace
  21. Celine: Journey to the End of the Night (1932)
  22. GarciaMarquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
  23. Zola, Emile: Germinal (1885)
  24. Canetti: Autodafe (1935)
  25. Balzac, Honore: Eugene Grandet (1833)
  26. Jose, Saramago: The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (1984)
  27. Svevo, Italo: Coscienza di Zeno/ Zeno's Consciousness (1923)
  28. Bernhard, Thomas: "Korrektur/ Correction" (1975)
  29. Goncarov, Ivan: Oblomov (1859)
  30. Carpentier, Alejo: "Lost Steps" (1953)
  31. Flaubert, Gustave: Madame Bovary (1856)
  32. Gaddis, William: The Recognitions
  33. Pavese, Cesare: Luna e i Falo'/ Moon and Bonfires (1950)
  34. Krasznahorkai, Laszlo: Satantango (1985)
  35. Cortazar, Julio: Rayuela (1963)
  36. Vargas-Llosa, Mario: "Conversacion en la Catedral" (1969)
  37. Gide: Les Faux-Monnayeurs (1925)
  38. Barth, John: Giles Goat Boy
  39. Murakami, Haruki: "Sekai no Owari to Ha-doboirudo Wanda-rando/ Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" (1985)
  40. Camus: "The Stranger" (1942)
  41. Kis, Danilo: Clessidra (1972)
  42. Schnitzler, Arthur: Traumnovelle/ Dream Story (1925)
  43. Lem: Solaris (1961)
  44. Peter Nadas (1942): "Emlekiratok Konyve/ Book of Memoirs" (1986)
  45. Melville: "Moby Dick" (1851)
  46. Marcel Proust: "A La Recherche du Temps Perdu" (1922)
  47. Rushdie: "Midnight's Children" (1980)
  48. Bellow, Saul: "Herzog" (1964)
  49. Pavic, Milroad: "The Dictionary of the Khazars" (1984)
  50. Donoso, Jose: "El Obsceno Pajaro de la Noche" (1970) ++
  51. Lessing, Doris: "The Golden Notebook" (1962)
  52. Hrabal, Bohumil: "Prilis Hlucna Samota/ Too Loud a Solitude (1976)
  53. Tanizaki, Junichiro: "Sasameyuki/ Makioka Sisters" (1948)
  54. Gadda: Cognizione del Dolore (1963)
Maybe not the greatest but also favorites:
  • Gombrowicz: Pornography (1960)
  • PerezGaldos, Benito: Nazarin (1895)
  • Kundera, Milan: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1985)
  • Abe Kobo: Woman in the Dunes (1962)
  • Buzzati, Dino: Deserto dei tartari (1940)
  • Unamuno, Miguel: Nebla (1914)
  • Oe, Kenzaburo: Silent Cry (1967)
  • Singer, Isaac: Moskat Family (1950)

Best novels in...:

  • Balkan
  • Baltic and Scandinavian
  • Bulgarian
  • Chinese
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Indian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbocroatian
  • Spanish
  • Arabic/Hebrew/Turkish
  • Ancient
  • ...see the full list...
  • In 2019 Brett Abrahamsen tried to compile an accurante and updated list. Here it is. I didn't change anything although you will notice discrepancies. I guess in my mind books have a slightly different order than on my website.

    1. The Trial
    2. The Red and the Black
    3. Buddenbrooks
    4. The Golden Bowl
    5. Ulysses
    6. Gargantua and Pantagruel
    7. Don Quixote
    8. The Master and Margarita
    9. Wuthering Heights
    10. The Man Without Qualities
    11. Ada
    12. Insatiability
    13. The Charterhouse of Parma
    14. Gravity's Rainbow
    15. Demons
    16. Light In August
    17. Journey to the End of the Night
    18. To the Lighthouse
    19. Crime and Punishment
    20. The Idiot
    21. Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
    22. The Recognitions
    23. Nostromo
    24. One Hundred Years of Solitude
    25. The Castle
    26. Giles Goat Boy
    27. Anna Karenina
    28. Dead Souls
    29. Moby Dick
    30. In Search of Lost Time
    31. Zeno's Conscience
    32. The Obscene Bird of Night
    33. Elective Affinities
    34. Midnight's Children
    35. The Brothers Karamazov
    36. The Stranger
    37. The Death of Virgil
    38. War and Peace
    39. Oblomov
    40. Doctor Faustus
    41. Herzog
    42. Madame Bovary
    43. The Lost Steps
    44. Hopscotch
    45. The Experience of Pain
    46. Pere Goriot
    47. Conversation in the Cathedral
    48. Book of Memoirs
    49. The Joke
    50. The General of the Dead Army
    51. Abraham's Valley
    52. The Moon and the Bonfires
    53. L'Assommoir
    54. Pride and Prejudice
    55. Effi Briest
    56. The Dictionary of the Khazars
    57. Pan
    58. Hourglass
    59. The Tale of Genji
    60. An Ordinary Life
    61. Satantango
    62. Chronicle of the Stone
    63. The Magic Mountain
    64. Les Miserables
    65. If On a Winter's Night a Traveler
    66. Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis
    67. Lazarillo de Tormes
    68. Possession
    69. Fortunata and Jacinta
    70. Makioka Sisters
    71. Arturo's Island
    72. Ancuta's Inn
    73. Palace of the Peacock
    74. Germinal
    75. The Counterfeiters
    76. Auto-da-Fe
    77. The Great Eastern
    78. Amadis of Gaul
    79. Atonement
    80. At Swim-two-birds
    81. Marketa Lazarova
    82. De Verwondering / The Wonder
    83. The Devil's Elixirs
    84. A Private Affair
    85. Kelidar
    86. Paradiso
    87. The Epic of Gilgamesh
    88. The Great Gatsby
    89. The Death of Artemio Cruz
    90. Under the Volcano
    91. Adrienne Mesurat
    92. The Wings of the Dove
    93. Mastro-don Gesualdo
    94. The Engineer of Human Souls
    95. Voss
    96. The Erl-King
    97. On Heroes and Tombs
    98. Middlemarch
    99. The Marquise of O
    100. Underworld
    Also in contention: Dream Story, Howard's End, Finnegan's Wake, The Plague, Anniversaries, Too Loud a Solitude, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, That Awful Mess on Via Merulana, The Crown Weaver, San Manuel Bueno, Martir, A Hero of Our Time, Petersburg, Requiem, Soul Mountain, Fateless, Solaris